A Cold Heart (Alex Delaware Series #17)

A Cold Heart (Alex Delaware Series #17)

Audio Other(Other - Abridged, 4 cassettes, 6 hrs.)

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Overview

Jonathan Kellerman is a master at creating psychologically nuanced novels of suspense—an author whose name is synonymous with unrelenting action, intriguing plot twists, and penetrating insight into the criminal mind. Now he ventures into bold, new territory with his biggest and best novel yet. A Cold Heart features Kellerman’s brilliant signature style—but in this tour-de-force he mines even deeper the emotional landscape of his characters: psychologist-sleuth Alex Delaware, LAPD homicide detective Milo Sturgis, Milo’s colleague Petra Connor, and Alex’s ex-lover, Robin Castagna—bringing them all vividly to life as never before.
“I’ve got a weird one, so naturally I thought of you,” says Milo Sturgis, summoning his friend Alex to the trendy gallery where a promising young artist has been brutally garroted on the night of her first major showing. What makes it “a weird one” is the lack of any obvious motive, and the luridly careful staging of the murder scene—which immediately suggests to Alex not an impulsive crime of passion . . . but the meticulous and taunting modus operandi of a serial killer.

Delaware’s suspicion is borne out when he compares notes with Milo’s associate, Petra Connor, and her new partner, a strange, taciturn detective with a past of his own named Eric Stahl. The Hollywood cops are investigating the vicious death of Baby Boy Lee, a noted blues guitarist, fatally stabbed after a late-night set at a local club. What links Baby Boy’s murder with that of painter Juliet Kipper is the shadowy presence of an abrasive fanzine writer. This alias-shroudedcritic’s love-the-art/disdain-the-artist philosophy and his morbid fascination with the murders leads Alex and the detectives to suspect they’re facing a new breed of celebrity stalker: one with a fetish for snuffing out rising stars.

Tracking down the killer proves to be maddening, with the twisting trail leading from halfway houses to palatial mansions and from a college campus to the last place Alex ever expected: the doorstep of his ex-lover Robin Castagna, whose business association with two of the victims casts her as an unavoidable player in the unfolding case. As more and more killings are discovered, unraveling the maddening puzzle assumes a chilling new importance—stopping a vicious psychopath who’s made cold-blood murder his chosen art form.
From the Hardcover edition.

Author Biography: Jonathan Kellerman is one of the world’s most popular authors. He has brought his expertise as a clinical psychologist to numerous bestselling tales of suspense (which have been translated into two dozen languages), including seventeen Alex Delaware novels; The Butcher’s Theater, a story of serial killing in Jerusalem; and Billy Straight, featuring Hollywood homicide detective Petra Connor. He is also the author of numerous essays, short stories, and scientific articles, two children’s books, and three volumes of psychology, including Savage Spawn: Reflections on Violent Children. He has won the Goldwyn, Edgar, and Anthony awards, and has been nominated for a Shamus Award. He and his wife, the novelist Faye Kellerman, have four children.
From the Hardcover edition.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780739303054
Publisher: Random House Audio Publishing Group
Publication date: 04/09/2003
Series: Alex Delaware Series , #17
Edition description: Abridged, 4 cassettes, 6 hrs.
Product dimensions: 4.46(w) x 7.12(h) x 1.21(d)

About the Author

Jonathan Kellerman is one of the world's most popular authors. He has brought his expertise as a clinical psychologist to numerous bestselling tales of suspense (which have been translated into two dozen languages), including seventeen Alex Delaware novels; The Butcher's Theater, a story of serial killing in Jerusalem; and Billy Straight, featuring Hollywood homicide detective Petra Connor. He is also the author of numerous essays, short stories, and scientific articles, two children's books, and three volumes of psychology, including Savage Spawn: Reflections on Violent Children. He has won the Goldwyn, Edgar, and Anthony awards, and has been nominated for a Shamus Award. He and his wife, the novelist Faye Kellerman, have four children.

Jonathan Kellerman is one of the world's most popular authors. He has brought his expertise as a clinical psychologist to numerous bestselling tales of suspense (which have been translated into two dozen languages), including seventeen Alex Delaware novels; The Butcher's Theater, a story of serial killing in Jerusalem; and Billy Straight, featuring Hollywood homicide detective Petra Connor. He is also the author of numerous essays, short stories, and scientific articles, two children's books, and three volumes of psychology, including Savage Spawn: Reflections on Violent Children. He has won the Goldwyn, Edgar, and Anthony awards, and has been nominated for a Shamus Award. He and his wife, the novelist Faye Kellerman, have four children.

Hometown:

Beverly Hills, California

Date of Birth:

August 9, 1949

Place of Birth:

New York, New York

Education:

B.A. in psychology, University of California-Los Angeles; Ph.D., University of Southern California, 1974

Read an Excerpt

The witness remembers it like this:
Shortly after 2 a.m., Baby Boy Lee exits the Snake Pit through the rear alley fire door. The light fixture above the door is set up for two bulbs, but one is missing, and the illumination that trickles down onto the garbage-flecked asphalt is feeble and oblique, casting a grimy mustard-colored disc, perhaps three feet in diameter. Whether or not the missing bulb is intentional will remain conjecture.
It is Baby Boy’s second and final break of the evening. His contract with the club calls for a pair of one-hour sets. Lee and the band have run over their first set by twenty-two minutes, because of Baby Boy’s extended guitar and harmonica solos. The audience, a nearly full house of 124, is thrilled. The Pit is a far cry from the venues Baby Boy played in his heyday, but he appears to be happy, too.
It has been a while since Baby Boy has taken the stage anywhere and played coherent blues. Audience members questioned later are unanimous: Never has the big man sounded better.
Baby Boy is said to have finally broken free of a host of addictions, but one habit remains: nicotine. He smokes three packs of Kools a day, taking deep-in-the-lung drags while onstage, and his guitars are notable for the black, lozenge-shaped burn marks that scar their lacquered wood finishes.
Tonight, though, Baby Boy has been uncommonly focused, rarely removing lit cigarettes from where he customarily jams them: just above the nut of his 62 Telecaster, wedged under the three highest strings, smoldering slowly.
So it is probably a tobacco itch that causes the singer to leap offstage the moment he plays his final note, flinging his bulk out the backdoor without a word to his band or anyone else. The bolt clicks behind him, but it is doubtful he notices.
The fiftieth Kool of the day is lit before Baby Boy reaches the alley. He is sucking in mentholated smoke as he steps in and out of the disc of dirty light.
The witness, such that he is, is certain that he caught a glimpse of Baby Boy’s face in the light and that the big man was sweating. If that’s true, perhaps the perspiration had nothing to do with anxiety but resulted from Baby Boy’s obesity and the calories expended on his music: For 83 minutes he has been jumping and howling and swooning, caressing his guitar, bringing the crowd to a frenzy at set’s end with a fiery, throat-ripping rendition of his signature song, a basic blues setup in the key of B-flat that witnesses the progression of Baby Boy’s voice from inaudible mumble to an anguished wail.
There’s women that’ll mess you
There’s those that treat you nice
But I got me a woman with
A heart as cold as ice.
A cold heart,
A cold, cold heart
My baby’s hot but she is cold
A cold heart,
A cold, cold heart
My baby’s murdering my soul . . .
At this point, the details are unreliable. The witness is a hepatitis-stricken, homeless man by the name of Linus Leopold Brophy, age thirty-nine but looking sixty, who has no interest in the blues or any other type of music and who happens to be in the alley because he has been drinking Red Phoenix fortified wine all night and the Dumpster five yards east of the Snake Pit’s back door provides shelter for him to sleep off his delirium tremens. Later, Brophy will consent to a blood alcohol test and will come up .24, three times the legal limit for driving, but according to Brophy “barely buzzed.”
Brophy claims to have been drowsy but awake when the sound of the back door opening rouses him and he sees a big man step out into the light and then fade to darkness. Brophy claims to recall the lit end of the man’s cigarette glowing “like Halloween, you know—orange, shiny, real bright, know what I mean?” and admits that he seizes upon the idea of panhandling money from the smoker. (“Because the guy is fat, so I figure he had enough to eat, that’s for sure, maybe he’ll come across, know what I mean?”)
Linus Brophy struggles to his feet and approaches the big man.
Seconds later, someone else approaches the big man, arriving from the opposite direction—the mouth of the alley, at Lodi Place. Linus Brophy stops in his tracks, retreats into darkness, sits down next to the Dumpster.
The new arrival, a man, also good-sized, according to Brophy, though not as tall as Baby Boy Lee and maybe half of Baby Boy’s width, walks right up to the singer and says something that sounds “friendly.” Questioned about this characterization extensively, Brophy denies hearing any conversation but refuses to budge from his judgment of amiability. (“Like they were friends, you know? Standing there, friendly.”)
The orange glow of Baby Boy’s cigarette lowers from mouth to waist level as he listens to the new arrival.
The new arrival says something else to Baby Boy, and Baby Boy says something back.
The new arrival moves closer to Baby Boy. Now, the two men appear to be hugging.
The new arrival steps back, looks around, turns heel and leaves the alley the way he came.
Baby Boy Lee stands there alone.
His hand drops. The orange glow of the cigarette hits the ground, setting off sparks.
Baby Boy sways. Falls.
Linus Brophy stares, finally builds up the courage to approach the big man. Kneeling, he says, “Hey, man,” receives no answer, reaches out and touches the convexity of Baby Boy’s abdomen. He feels moisture on his hand and is repelled.
As a younger man, Brophy had a temper. He has spent half of his life in various county jails and state penitentiaries, saw things, did things. He knows the feel and the smell of fresh blood.
Stumbling to his feet, he lurches to the back door of the Snake Pit and tries to pull it open, but the door is locked. He knocks, no one answers.
The shortest way out of the alley means retracing the steps of the newcomer: walk out to Lodi Place, hook north to Fountain, and find someone who’ll listen.
Brophy has already wet his pants twice tonight—first while sleeping drunk and now, upon touching Baby Boy Lee’s blood. Fear grips him, and he heads the other way, tripping through the long block that takes him to the other end of the alley. Finding no one on the street at this hour, he makes his way to an all-night liquor store on the corner of Fountain and El Centro.
Once inside the store, Brophy shouts at the Lebanese clerk who sits reading behind a Plexiglas window, the same man who one hour ago sold him three bottles of Red Phoenix. Brophy waves his arms, tries to get across what he has just seen. The clerk regards Brophy as exactly what he is—a babbling wino—and orders him to leave.
When Brophy begins pounding on the Plexiglas, the clerk considers reaching for the nail-studded baseball bat he keeps beneath the counter. Sleepy and weary of confrontation, he dials 911.
Brophy leaves the liquor store and walks agitatedly up and down Fountain Avenue. When a squad car from Hollywood Division arrives, Officers Keith Montez and Cathy Ruggles assume Brophy is their problem and handcuff him immediately.
Somehow he manages to communicate with the Hollywood Blues and they drive their black and white to the mouth of the alley. High- intensity LAPD-issue flashlights bathe Baby Boy Lee’s corpse in a heartless, white glare.
The big man’s mouth gapes, and his eyes are rolled back. His banana yellow Stevie Ray Vaughan T-shirt is dyed crimson, and a red pool has seeped beneath his corpse. Later, it will be ascertained that the killer gutted the big man with a classic street fighter’s move: long-bladed knife thrust under the sternum followed by a single upward motion that slices through intestine and diaphragm and nicks the right ventricle of Baby Boy’s already seriously enlarged heart.
Baby Boy is long past help, and the cops don’t even attempt it.
From the Hardcover edition.

Copyright© 2003 by Jonathan Kellerman

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

“Artfully done . . . [a] classic whodunit sprinkled with hard-boiled lines and more twists than a plate of fusilli. Kellerman has an unusual knack for making his heroes and their personal lives as detailed and engaging as the crime solving.”—People
 
“Kellerman really knows how to keep those pages turning.”—The New York Times Book Review

Customer Reviews

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Cold Heart (Alex Delaware Series #17) 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 45 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this Alex Delaware better than some of latest ones (i.e. The Conspiracy Club). I read primarily to catch up with one of Kellerman's new characters - Petra Connor, a LAPD homicide detective. I like her and her partner Eric Stahl. This book grabs you in the beginning but gets blogged down in multiple suspects in the middle. Recommended but you need patience...
mahallett on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
ok. had trouble remembering the peripheral characters on cd.
CynDaVaz on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A passable entry in the Alex Delaware series; not horrible, but not something to highly recommend.Spoiler alert - I'm glad Robin and Alex are no longer together, as I never liked her from the beginning ... but I can't help but feel that the author is attempting to paint the newest love interest in an unflattering light. This became evident in the way he described how she looked while sleeping. Perhaps this is a petty issue, but my dislike of Robin is such that anyone other than her is greatly appreciated - but the author seems to feel differently. So I can't help but wonder ... if Kellerman feels that way about Robin, then why even create the final separation between Alex and Robin in the first place - unless it was a desperate attempt to breathe fresh life into a series that has become just 'so-so'.
Darrol on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I liked this one. Good police work abetting Delaware's (still too good) guess. The identity of the perp followed a too obvious pattern, and the initial suspect too much of an obvious red herring. I was hoping that it was a red herring for something else, something that did play a role, but the good police work saved the story. Petra Conner's new partner is interesting, and I hope he continues.
amacmillen on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Another serial killer thriller. Alex Delaware is involved in solving a series of murders where want-a-be arts are being murder. The person committing the killings is a college professor who thinks he is better artist than his victims.
mrtall on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I remember trying an Jonathan Kellerman/Alex Delaware potboiler some time ago, and not being all that impressed. Well, either he's improved or my standards have been compromised, because I found this recent offering to be good entertainment.
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Amber1MA More than 1 year ago
Too dragged out....got really boring
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CHARWI More than 1 year ago
A good suspenseful novel. Kellerman is one of my must read authors.
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Mystery7 More than 1 year ago
Excellent read
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